Issue No 6: 1 March 2022
Comms Alliance Submission Highlighting Delay/Lack of Implementation of PJCIS Recommendations
Communications Alliance has provided a submission to the Australian National Audit Office in response to its audit Implementation of Parliamentary Committee and Auditor-General Recommendations — Department of Home Affairs.
The submission notes with concern that a number of key recommendations from parliamentary committees, most notably the Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS), have not been implemented or, as far as we are aware of, implementation has not commenced. In some cases, in fact, recommendations concerning key issues relating to law enforcement, security and the telecommunications sector have not even been met with a Government response, long after the committee has delivered its findings.
The delay in implementation of parliamentary committee recommendations stands in sharp contrast to the intense time-pressure that is often put on our industry in the development of the respective legislation to which the recommendations pertain, and the implementation of new legislated or regulated requirements on industry.
We are particularly concerned with the lack of implementation of recommendations arising from the statutory review of the Data Retention Regime (recommendations delivered in October 2020(!)) and the review of Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify and Disrupt) Bill 2020 (recommendations delivered in August 2021).
Comms Alliance Submission to the ACCC
Communications Alliance has provided input to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) consultation paper on revisions to the Commission’s Broadband Speed Claims – Industry Guidance. The ACCC paper seeks input on two key issues: whether the Guidance material should be updated to (1) clearly state ‘typical busy period’ upload speeds provided over both fixed line and fixed wireless access networks; and (2) require RSPs to disclose to consumers the ‘factors known, or [that] ought reasonably be known that would affect the download or upload speeds received by an end user’.
In the submission, Communications Alliance voices its support for ensuring that consumers can access up-to-date information to help them understand and compare broadband offerings. However, CA notes that requirements must be of clear benefit to consumers and must address material issues in a user-friendly, easy-to-understand and meaningful manner.
Communications Alliance’s assessment of the proposed new requirements is that they fail to meet these objectives.
In relation to upload speeds, it is far from clear that there is a material problem that needs solving; neither the regulators nor Communication Alliance members appear to be aware of any significant complaints or problems associated with upload speeds, and many of the proposed Guidance changes are impractical, would be costly to implement, difficult to communicate to consumers, and not assist in meaningful comparisons. Proposals relating to the second issue are less problematic, but are still of questionable material value.
In the absence of evidence to contrary, Communications Alliance believes there is a risk that the ACCC proposals are a ‘solution in search of a problem’.
Impacts to Satellite Operators from Proposed Changes to the Television Outside Broadcast Spectrum Arrangements
The ACMA has consulted on the Television Outside Broadcast Frequency Band Plan which sets out the purposes for which the 1980–2010 MHz and 2170–2200 frequency bands may be used. The ACMA is developing spectrum management arrangements to support the introduction of mobile-satellite services (MSS) in these bands and to facilitate cessation of television outside broadcast (TOB) services in these bands.
Authorising the Use of Uncoordinated Earth Station Receivers in the S and Ka Spectrum Bands
The ACMA has consulted on proposed arrangements to authorise the use of uncoordinated earth station receivers under class licensing arrangements in the 2 GHz and 28 GHz (S and Ka) spectrum bands.
Communications Alliance is pleased to welcome the following new members;
Below is a list of currently open telecommunications-related consultations being conducted by Government and other organisations that provide an opportunity for you to have your say.